Rising Stars 2020:

Junwen Yang

PhD Candidate

University of Chicago

Areas of Interest

  • Computer Architecture and Engineering
  • Database Management Systems


Improving Performance and Quality of Database-Backed Software


Nowadays, database-backed software is widely used for online shopping, social networking, and many others, where increasingly huge amount of user data is managed and processed. It is challenging to develop database-backed web applications that have high performance and correctness, particularly given its unique three-stack architecture: (1) a web interface developed by markup language such as HTML and running in users’ browsers, (2) application logic developed by traditional object-oriented languages and running on web servers, and (3) a database management system (DBMS) that maintains persistent data and runs on backend database (DB) servers. Under this architecture, performance and correctness problems are common without cross-stack analysis. This poster presents a series of study and tools for optimizing web applications built upon ORM frameworks. Using automated static analysis, we detect more than 1000 in-efficiency and correctness related issues and suggests fixes to developers.


Junwen Yang is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on automatically detecting and fixing performance and correctness bugs in big data software through a combination of program analysis, software engineering, and database techniques. Her research has led to first-author papers published at top software engineering conferences (FSE’18, ICSE’18, ICSE’19, SPLASH’19, ICSE’20), winning the 2019 SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award and 2019 SIGPLAN John Vlissides Award, as well as co-authored papers at database conferences (CIKM’18, CIDR’20). Her research found thousands of bugs in popular open-source web applications, raising attention in the open-source community and featured on Morning Paper blog twice, RubyWeekly, and Hacker News. She also recently won the Harper Dissertation Fellowship. Yang has served as a mentor in UChicago ACM-W mentor program and an instructor in compileHer program, teaching computer science and STEM concepts to middle school girls.

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